I wrestle against kids who are much older than me, sometimes ninth-graders. Wrestling is a hard enough sport, but wrestling kids five years older than me just makes it that much more challenging.

I know that wrestling older kids helps me become a better wrestler, but sometimes it is really hard. I can feel that they are stronger physically, and they are usually taller and sometimes more experienced.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Sometimes I like wrestling against older kids, because when I win, I feel really great about myself. But even if I don’t win, I know that I got there only because I practiced and never gave up.

If there are any young wrestlers in my position, remember these three things:

1. You can do whatever you set your mind to do.

2. Losing isn’t a bad thing; learn from your mistakes.

3. And the most important thing is to never give up.